Live pro football, of some kind, will return to television next weekend.
If the Rams' non-union team plays at New Orleans Sunday, as scheduled, CBS will show that game in Los Angeles.
And ABC announced Monday that it plans to televise the game between the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants next Monday night, regardless of what happens with the National Football League strike.
NBC will announce its plans today.
There is a possibility that the NFL will waive its blackout rule and allow the networks to televise non-sellouts in the home team's city. That may permit NBC to televise the Raiders' game against Kansas City at the Coliseum Sunday. A decision on the blackout situation also is expected today.
None of the three networks has committed to televising non-union games beyond this weekend. A New York source said it is unlikely the networks will continue televising them.
Sunday, though, CBS will show a doubleheader in most markets. However, the network, at least for now, is restricted to one game in Los Angeles because the Raiders are home. NBC is limited to showing only one game per market this Sunday.
It has been reported that at least one company, Chrysler, has said it will not sponsor telecasts of the non-union games.
There is speculation that some of the 49ers, among them quarterback Joe Montana, will cross the picket line and play next Monday night, and that might have been a factor in ABC's decision to televise the 49er-Giant game. Other 49ers rumored to be considering coming in are running backs Roger Craig and Joe Cribbs, and wide receiver Dwight Clark.
Last Sunday, the only pro football on television was a replay of last January's Super Bowl between the Giants and the Denver Broncos by CBS, and it fared reasonably well in the ratings.
The average overnight Nielsen rating for the taped football game in the nation's 14 largest markets was a 4.4, while live baseball on NBC drew only a 4.1 in the same markets.
NBC showed Toronto-Detroit in 90% of the country and St. Louis-Chicago in the other 10%, and in most markets those telecasts faced competition from local telecasts. For example, in New York, the Mets' 12-3 win over Pittsburgh was televised locally and drew a 9.2 rating. Toronto-Detroit, televised opposite it by NBC, drew only a 2.7.
In Los Angeles, where there were no local baseball telecasts, baseball on NBC beat out the taped Super Bowl, 6.3 to 4.5. Both of these rating pale in comparison to regular NFL ratings. During the second week of the regular NFL season, before the strike, NBC's average rating was 12.9 for a single game and CBS had average ratings of 18.5 and 21.3 for its doubleheader games.